The Search Project is a $2.4 million multi-year minerals program in British Columbia's west-central region. Phase I kicked off in August 2015 and Phase II was completed in the summer of 2016.
Three Cessna Super Caravan planes outfitted with ultra-sensitive magnetometers flew out of the Burns Lake and Smithers airports in the summer of 2016, crisscrossing a 24,000-square-kilometre expanse of west-central British Columbia and marking the launch of Geoscience BC's largest airborne magnetic survey to date -- the Search Phase II Project.
Search Phase II is an extension to the original Search Project flown in 2015, which covered a particularly rugged 6,700 square-kilometre area between Terrace, Kitimat and Smithers in west-central B.C. to identify mineral potential in this under-explored region.
Portions of the Search Project area haven't seen regional magnetic surveying since the 1960's and much of it was originally surveyed prior to the availability of GPS. The Search II survey was flown at 250-metre line spacing using more sophisticated equipment resulting in a more precise examination of the region's geology.
The magnetometer used in the survey detects and records local disturbances in the earth's magnetic field that are caused by magnetic minerals in the upper regions of the earth's crust. These magnetic signatures are then mapped for prospectors to analyze that help focus their on-the-ground exploration activities.
High-resolution data from the Search Phase II survey will be made publically available in early 2017. Up-to-date survey information, which includes access to mineral tenures, mineral occurrences, geology and chemistry, can be viewed or downloaded in a variety of formats putting vital earth science data directly in the hands of the end user.
The release of the Search Phase II survey results will bridge a significant distance between Search Phase I and the TREK survey conducted in 2013. Together, these three adjoining surveys will provide continuous high-quality magnetic data covering a 55,500 square kilometre area - equivalent to the size of Nova Scotia.
The Search Phase II survey area has an impressive mining history. It includes communities such as Burns Lake and Fraser Lake and is near to Smithers, Houston, and Vanderhoof. The area is home to the former Bell-Granisle mines, the Endako mine -- one of the largest molybdenum mines in North America - and Huckleberry mine in the southwest. Just beyond the survey's border is the proposed Blackwater mine to the south.